December 2023 Newsletter

In This Issue:


From the Director 

We are living through disturbing times–our hearts are broken, our sleep is disrupted, we wander around losing our keys and our glasses and we worry about losing our minds. We ache for those suffering in Israel and Palestine, and in Ukraine. We wring our hands and send off checks, we gather with friends and share our despair, we bow our heads in places of worship, we shield our children and grandchildren, if we even can. We are living through terrible times.

The Truth School is aware of all the activists who are praying for peace, speaking out for justice, and showing compassion during this time of enormous pain. We are grateful to all of you who value loving and listening. The leadership of the Truth School does not have one position, a clear strategy, or an answer to the wars being fought. We offer no one solution to these complex issues. But we always stand for peace, we always lift up the dignity of each person, we always believe in nonviolence, we always fight oppression in all its forms, we always work for justice, and we always denounce brutality, war atrocities, and the killing of innocents.

We are clinging to the wise words of Dr. Margaret Wheatley, American writer, teacher and speaker, who believes that in the face of social collapse, we need to create what she calls “islands of sanity.” Wheatley believes that when there is great suffering we must also create great love and beauty. She says that we must pull together and fan the embers of hope within each other, we must hold fast to what is good and spread goodness around us. Wheatley’s “islands of sanity” mean that when we refuel together–remembering our shared values, and harmonizing our behaviors with our beliefs–we can continue the hard work of struggling for peace and standing up for justice.

We are living through times that have disturbed our sense of safety, dislodged our sense of home, divided us one from another, and discouraged us from speaking out. And so it is increasingly important that we–each one of us–creates an island of sanity whenever and wherever we can.

“Fear of uncertainty that we face, when perceived as a threat, can cause us to retreat from one another, from values that held us together, from ideas and practices that encouraged inclusion, from faith leaders, from belief in basic human goodness,” says Dr. Wheatley. “But whatever the problem, community is the answer.”

And it was community that brought the wider Truth School family together on November 10th when we created an island of sanity in Northampton, MA. Billed as a fundraising concert for the School, we brought together singers and songwriters to share their talent and their love with a community desperate for a sense of hope. In song after song, our performers poured their hearts out singing about courage and loving, faith and loss, caring and giving, and showing up for one another. We were a multi-ethnic, intergenerational, and interfaith crowd of some 250 people, and we filled a local church. People clapped, swayed, sang along, and jumped to their feet repeatedly. We created an island of sanity. “It felt so good to feel so good,” one TS Board member said after the concert. “The concert was filled with beautiful and holy moments,” a Truth School trainer wrote to me after the concert. Another Truth School Board member sent a text saying, “…we were uplifted by moments of beauty, joy, and togetherness as we face this sad and broken world.”

And so I want to say thank you to the fine performers and many good souls who gave of their time and planned, organized, and performed in what was a magical evening when we, for a moment, created an effervescent island of sanity here in Northampton, MA on a cold November evening. And I say thank you to all of you from coast to coast who are creating islands of sanity, investing in beauty, and piercing the sorrow through art and beauty, love and compassion. I say thank you to all of you out there who are peacemakers and bridge-builders, all of you able to remain tender-hearted even while you are broken-hearted. We stand with you. And here in Western Mass in a church on Main Street in our little New England city, we stood and sang in solidarity with you all.


And may you be abundantly blessed,

Donate to the Truth School



Loretta Ross


Loretta Ross, Smith College professor, founder of the National Center for Human Rights Education in Atlanta, 2022 MacArthur Fellowship recipient, and our very own Truth School trainer has been inducted into the Women’s National Hall of Fame along with Ruby Bridges, Kimberle Crenshaw, and Serena Williams. Loretta Ross is a Black academic, feminist, and activist for reproductive justice. She has dedicated her career in academia and activism to reframing reproductive rights within the broader context of human rights.
Congratulations, Dr. Ross!

National Women’s Hall of Fame announces 2024 inductees.

“Today I am taking sides.

I am taking the side of Peace.
Peace, which I will not abandon
even when its voice is drowned out
by hurt and hatred,
bitterness of loss,
cries of right and wrong.

I am taking the side of Peace
whose name has barely been spoken
in this winnerless war.
I will hold Peace in my arms,
and share my body’s breath,
lest Peace be added
to the body count.

I will call for de-escalation
even when I want nothing more
than to get even.
I will do it
in the service of Peace.
I will make a clearing
in the overgrown
thicket of cause and effect
so Peace can breathe
for a minute
and reach for the sky.

I will do what I must
to save the life of Peace.
I will breathe through tears.
I will swallow pride.
I will bite my tongue.
I will offer love
without testing for deservingness.

So don’t ask me to wave a flag today
unless it is the flag of Peace.
Don’t ask me to sing an anthem
unless it is a song of Peace.
Don’t ask me to take sides
unless it is the side of Peace.”

~ Rabbi Irwin Keller, Oct. 17, 2023


Below is a list of December classes.  Classes will be open for registration on August 1st. All classes for our fall semester will be on Zoom.  All class times are Eastern Time.  Please visit our website for more info and to register:

If you register for a class but can’t make it, please let us know at Accurate information about class size is important for trainers to know for preparation and planning purposes.
Thank you for this courtesy.



Resting to Rise: A Daring to Rest Community Gathering
Wednesday, December 6, 2023, 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM
with Benita Jackson

Circle Practice to Mark the Winter Solstice
Thursday, December 21, 2023, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
with Irene “Strong Oak” Lefebvre

Gazette Article by Truth School Trainers Carrie N. Baker and Max Fallon-Goodwin: Indian schools and a ‘Road to Healing’

‘They stripped me down, they cut my hair off, they poured the liquid in my hair and told me to go to the showers,” testified 72-year-old Dora Brought Plenty about when she first entered the Indian boarding school where she spent her childhood years.

Holding back tears, Brought Plenty — of the Lakota Sioux tribe, Turtle Clan and Standing Rock Sioux tribe — stood in front of a group of Indigenous activists in Anadarko, Oklahoma, last July. The group included Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, a member of New Mexico’s Laguna Pueblo.

Read more HERE

"Love is the Way and Justice the Destination"

~ bell hooks

From the Cost of Living
by Arundhati Roy

To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty in its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.


Daily Hampshire Gazette

Columnist Andrea Ayvazian: Many blessings, many thanks

I have been writing monthly columns for the Gazette since 2009. Often, in November, I would write how painful I find it that the story of Thanksgiving has been misinterpreted, white-washed, and taught incorrectly in schools nationwide.

I also have described the annual gathering led by Indigenous peoples on Thanksgiving — called by many a National Day of Mourning — in Plymouth, and how stirring and sorrowful that ceremony is. I also have written about how the wealth gap in this country feels especially poignant as winter begins and the cold sets in. Read more HERE

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October 2023 Newsletter

In This Issue:


From the Director 

It is with bittersweet feelings that we share with the wider Truth School family that our beloved Associate Director, Amihan Matias, will be leaving her position with the School at the end of September.  Amihan has written an article, which you will find below, sharing her news.  But let me just add a few words here.  Amihan became the Associate Director at the Truth School two years ago and it is impossible to overstate what a difference she has made in the life of the School.  She is wise, creative, and deeply committed to dismantling all forms of systematic oppression.  She is artistic, loving, reliable, and dedicated to the mission of the School and to caring for our many TS trainers.  Amihan has brought her warmth, humor, organizational savvy, and experience as a trainer herself to her work at the School and has changed how we think about our work and how we operate in countless ways.  She is beloved by the staff, trainers, and board, and will be deeply missed.  Amihan is going on to GREAT things with another wonderful nonprofit and so we rejoice about that.  And we are not letting her get very far from us, she will leave the TS staff but join our Advisory Board.  We know you will wish her well, and we send her off with enormous gratitude and great love.

Love and blessings,


Donate to the Truth School



Message from the Associate Director
Amihan Matias


Dear Truth School Friends,

It is with mixed emotions that I announce I am leaving my position at the Truth School. I will be taking on a full-time position as the Senior Director of Community Partnerships at the Women’s Fund of Western MA starting in October. I will continue my social justice work with another fine organization. This transition is poignant for me because my time at the Truth School and my connection with all of you has been so deep and meaningful.

The social justice, movement-building work of the Truth School is so critically important right now. We are at a crossroads in our country. Our rights and democracy are being challenged and we are being called on to remain steadfast in our movement towards justice, transformation, and the healing of our people and our planet. We need each other. The Truth School and all those involved–the Truth School staff and board, our participants, trainers, and hosts, all of our donors and supporters, have made me hopeful about what is possible when we all pull together.

I have loved being a part of this movement and this community. As Black writer, activist, and poet Yolo Akili says, “Remember, oppression thrives off isolation. Connection is the only thing that can save us.” This is the work of the Truth School, to create connection and community that will buoy us and give us hope, inspiration, strength, and a new path toward a future that we all believe in and deserve.

I want to extend a special thanks to the Truth School leadership team and staff. Andrea, you are a passionate, compassionate, and visionary leader. People are involved with the Truth School because your commitment to social justice is so compelling and because your heart is so loving. You collect us and enfold us in this movement for social change. The leadership team is such an incredible group of thoughtful, capable, supportive movers and shakers, who, along with Andrea, skillfully help to guide the work of the Truth School. The rest of the team is also brilliant and is the backbone of the organization working on the day-to-day tasks that serve as the engine for the Truth School. Thank you to our dedicated Board, our inspiring, powerful, and transformational trainers, the steadfast hosts, and all who have supported the Truth School in a myriad of ways.

I feel honored and privileged to have shared this part of the journey with you. You have become part of me and live in my heart. I leave the Truth School in such capable hands. Be well and stay strong in the struggle.

With love and deep gratitude,

"With all that's destroyed, look how the world still yields a golden pear. Freckled and floral, a shimmering marvel." --Ellen Bass

"I am like a drop of water on a rock. After drip, drip, dripping in the same place, I begin to leave my mark, and I leave my mark in many people's hearts." --Rigoberta Menchu

October/November Classes


Below is a list of September and October classes.  Classes will be open for registration on August 1st. All classes for our fall semester will be on Zoom.  All class times are Eastern Time.  Please visit our website for more info and to register:

If you register for a class but can’t make it, please let us know at Accurate information about class size is important for trainers to know for preparation and planning purposes.
Thank you for this courtesy.


October Classes


Dream a New Dream: Live a New Story
Sundays from 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM: October 1, 8, 15, and 22, 2023
with Amber Chand

The Prison Fix
Thursdays from 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM: October 5, 12, 19, and 26, 2023
with Dr. Sut Jhally

Calling In the Call Out Culture
Tuesday, October 10, 2023, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
with Loretta J. Ross

Holding the In-Between: A Path to Wholeness
Saturday, October 21, 2023, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
with Ann Augustine

Finding Joy and Community in a Time of Discord and Disconnection
Saturday, October 28, 2023, 4:00 – 5:30 PM
with Sonji Johnson-Anderson and Susan Theberge

November Classes


To Boldly Go: An Anti-Racism Journey
Tuesdays from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM: November 2, 9, 16, and 30, 2023
with Jade Barker

Political Organizing: Concrete Guidance on Working for Candidates and Working on Campaigns
Saturday, November 11, 2023, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
with Tahirah Amatul-Wadud

Movement-Building and the Arts
Tuesday, November 14, 2023, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
with Leti Bueno





Dancing with History: A Life for Peace and Justice
Book talk sponsored by Broadside Books

Thursday, October 5, 7:00
Edwards Church, 297 Main Street Northampton MA



Quaker activist and master storyteller, George Lakey, will discuss his new book describing his involvement in struggles for peace, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, labor justice, and the environment. George is the author of How We Win: A Guide to Nonviolent Direct Action Campaigning, and will discuss both books.

Andrea Ayvazian and Amihan Matias
will be respondents and will offer comments


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